To get a perspective on why the Great Place to Work® institute surveys are so effective, we interviewed two members of this organization and an expert in the HR field. The purpose of the surveys is explained as well as the many benefits companies receive from participating.
What is the point of awarding the best work environments? Today, aren’t there more urgent issues to analyze such as how to boost companies? When the crisis is over, like in a war, we must consider rebuilding, with no regard to subtleties. The rebuilding period is often driven by tough decisions, while style, which better working environments have, is often forgotten. For example during the post-war period of the ‘50s and ‘60s, it was popular to have ugly city buildings, but there were also those which were seen as being excellent architecture, such as the World Trade Center in New York City. As in architecture, in people management in the “post-crisis” period, it is not only important to “stand out in the crowd”. Given this premise, we asked professionals about the awards: Jose Antonio Jazigi, Great Place to Work® Institute Chile, and Patrick Dumoulin, Great Place to Work® Institute France, as well as Jennifer Loftus, President- Elect of the Human Resources Association of New York, to offer their answers to our questions.
BENEFITS COMPANIES RECEIVE
For Jennifer Loftus, “Participating in ‘best workplaces’ surveys encourages employers to do more for their employees. The resulting reduction in turnover and increase in productivity both positively impact an organization’s financial results. By publicizing the results of these studies, the general public learns more about what makes for a positive work environment and the publicity gained from participating in these programs increases the talent pool for the participating organization and enhances the organization’s brand, as a caring innovator, when recruiting talent. Rewarding the organizations who have built ‘best workplaces’, enables the sponsoring group to promote best practices for the betterment of HR in the geographic area or industry. These studies also afford exclusive access to significant benchmarking which can be used to help other organizations enhance their HR and management practices.” Patrick Dumoulin further explains the benefits for companies “A company wants to have a clear picture of their inner social climate. The survey is the employee’s voice and it is important to have clear feedback. Secondly, a company wants to know if inside the employees really trust their managers. Being a great place to work is about building trust, pride, and camaraderie.”
THE PURPOSE OF GPTW
Jose Antonio Jazigi states, “The purpose and mission of GPTW is ‘helping society as a whole by helping companies transform their workplaces’. First of all, people spend more time at work than with their family. So when we speak of society, we also speak about the workplace. When employees care about each other, managers care about their employees, and in turn a company cares about its employees. When you come home happy after work, you impact your family as well. Therefore, a good climate at work has various implications for society.”
CRITERIA FOR EVALUATING
Jose Antonio Jazigi explains the criteria of Great Place to Work® Institute surveys “The factors for determining a great workplace are so deep and true, that they have stayed the same across nations and throughout time. The 5 dimensions of the Trust Index were established to create a real photo and true reflection of what a company is internally. The factors were so globally the same for everyone, that in 2002 the head of EU labor chose Great Place to Work® Institute to make a survey of all the 15 member countries. Even in the past years, the criteria haven’t changed. All companies have the same relationships that take place such as trust between people, camaraderie, or pride that you have in your work. Therefore, regardless of what is happening on the outside, a company can be changed. Society can also be changed by companies.” Patrick Dumoulin agrees, with one additional thought “The model and criteria for being a great place to work has not changed over time. However, occasionally some of the survey questions change. For example, due to the economic crisis, we changed one of the statements from ‘I want to work my entire professional life in this company’ instead to ‘I want to work for a long time in this company’. The essence is still the same, but it is a more realistic statement for employees today.” Excellent organizational environments therefore, also positively effect a company’s results. This seems to be the majority opinion in response to the initial question.
Published in the hard-copy of Work Style Magazine, Summer 2010